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Beef stroganoff used to be a simple peasant dish with few ingredients: meat, pickle, mustard, sour cream and maybe a little ground sweet paprika. As the recipe travelled, onions and mushrooms (and even tomato paste) found their way into the recipe. We prefer the simple version but on account of the incredible high cost of fillet or rump steak, we succumb to the mushroom addition as it stretches it somewhat. And for the sake of lifting the grey-brown mushroom colour a bit, we add a little tomato paste although you can omit it.

Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients


  • 800 g rump steak
  • 125 ml seasoned cake flour
  • 30 ml ground sweet paprika (or to taste)
  • butter
  • sunflower or canola oil
  • 250 ml brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 125 ml dill gherkins, diced quite finely
  • 125 ml sour cream
  • 250 ml ordinary cream
  • 65 ml prepared French mustard (aka Dijon mustard)
  • 45 ml tomato paste
  • salt and freshly-milled black pepper, to taste
  • 45 ml parsley, coarsely chopped



Chef's hint: It is really important that the meat be just-cooked. In fact, we suggest medium-done meat as it ensures juicy, meaty and tender bursts of flavour amidst the tart-creamy sauce.

Method


Cut the fat off the meat and then trim all sinewy bits off. Discard the off cuts then slice the meat across the grain (it's across the short side) in very thin slices. If you take the trouble to trim and slice the meat as suggested, you’d be astonished at the difference in texture and tenderness of the meat.

Combine the cake flour and paprika and dip the meat slices lightly in the seasoned flour and lay them on a board.

Melt a nugget of butter in a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan and add an equal amount of oil. When hot, briefly fry the meat in batches until lightly browned, adding more oil and butter as necessary. Do not overcook. Keep the browned pieces aside.

When all the meat is browned, wipe the pan clean and add some olive oil. When piping hot, add the mushrooms and cook until the liquids have evaporated and the mushrooms are nicely caramelised before stirring in the gherkins, sour cream and cream, mustard and tomato paste.

Now stir the browned meat into the creamy mushroom mixture and allow to come to a boil for a minute or so before removing the pan from the heat. You do not want to cook the meat any further as it may end up tough.

Season to taste, stir in the parsley and serve at once with rice or rice noodles (orzo) and a simple, oil-free green salad.

Serves 6. This is a rich dish, so the portions can be rather small – you can even stretch it to 8 portions.